Here are some basic exercises to help with learning the possessive ‘s apostrophe:
1. Punctuate the examples, including full stops, capitals and apostrophes;
2. Then re-write them into the format the [____] of [____], e.g.
The worlds end came as a shock.
The [end] of [the world] came as a shock.

Don’t try to do all these at once (unless you’re feeling particularly heroic).

1. the boys* downfall was sudden       *(could be boys or boy)
2. the governments policy was stupid
3. the womans face was like a squashed potato
4. the authors ideas are subtle
5. hitlers downfall was inevitable
6. the wars end came abruptly
7. the films ending contrasted with its beginning   (no apostrophe in its)
8. the books cover uses a dramatic image
9. the poets attitude is unclear
10. georges opinions were offensive
11. the days end was unpleasant
12. the womens club closed down for the winter
13. the experiments results were startling
14. the armies leaders were useless
15. the peoples mood was sombre

Once you’ve re-written the examples, talk about which version you prefer, and any new or difficult words. One is usually more elegant than the other.

Apostrophes take a lot of practice. You will need to keep coming back to this again, and again, and again!


1. The boy’s* downfall was sudden.  *(could be boys’ or boy’s)
2. The government’s policy was stupid.
3. The woman’s face was like a squashed potato.
4. The author’s ideas are subtle.
5. Hitler’s downfall was inevitable.
6. The war’s end came abruptly.
7. The film’s ending contrasted with its beginning.   (no apostrophe in its)
8. The book’s cover uses a dramatic image.
9. The poet’s attitude is unclear.
10. George’s opinions were offensive.
11. The day’s end was unpleasant.
12. The women’s club closed down for the winter.
13. The experiment’s results were startling.
14. The armies’ leaders were useless.
15. The people’s mood was sombre.